In a relatively short time, the Firefox
browser has accumulated nearly ten percent of browser market share (according to http://www.netapplications.com
, for one). Firefox
works on virtually every platform, performs well, is far more secure than Internet Explorer,
and provides best-of-breed features such as tabbed browsing, built-in pop-up blocking, and extensive support for World Wide Web standards.
Better yet, Firefox can be souped-up with extensions that add features to the basic browsing experience. The official repository for Firefox extensions can be found at https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/?application=firefox. There are currently over 670 extensions available — some as small as a toolbar button, yet some as large as an entire XML User Interface Language (XUL, pronounced” zool”) application. If you browse the repository, you’ll undoubtedly find something that enhances your browsing habits.
Here are four valuable extensions to investigate further.
is slightly more complicated than some extensions, as it involves requires multiple extensions to work properly. First, install the SpellBound
extension, and then visit http://dictionaries.mozdev.org/installation.html
and install the dictionary for your native language. (There are currently over 45 languages available.) Once installed, simply right click in any input element and choose” Check Spelling”. One nice thing about SpellBound
is that you can add any arbitrary word to your personal dictionary.
If you’re using the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer,
you’ll be happy to know that you can choose either the official Google Toolbar for Firefox
or the open source Googlebar
to place Google at your fingertips. Available from http://toolbar.google.com/firefox/index.html
, respectively, both versions of the toolbar offer similar features. Spend some time with each one and choose the one that suits you best. (If you’re a Yahoo! user, an official Yahoo!Toolbar
is also available for Firefox from http://toolbar.yahoo.com/firefox
Finally, there’s the popular greasemonkey
extension, which is available from http://greasemonkey.mozdev.org/
. greasemonkey lets you add bits of Dynamic HTML
(DHTML), called user scripts,
to any web page to change its behavior. greasemonkey is extremely powerful: it enables you to easily control any aspect of any web page. For example, you can make sure that all URLs in the browser are clickable, route around common and annoying web site bugs, submit all forms via Ctrl-Enter, customize GMail,
and even retrieve data from one site to integrate it into another site. Literally hundreds of user scripts are available from http://userscripts.org/
Firefox is a fantastic application that’s fast, robust, and extensible. Browse the numerous categories of extensions to find ways to browse that you may never have dreamed of. Or, if you’d like to see Firefox do something that a current extension doesn’t accommodate, grab a XUL HOWTO
and try to implement one yourself.
Jeremy Garcia is the founder and administrator of LinuxQuestions.org, a free, friendly, and active Linux community. Please send questions and feedback to